I have a pair of bright red big pants that are approximately 20 years old and have affectionately become known as my period pants. Like a beacon they brightly inform all and sundry (well, my husband) that it is that TOTM.
So I’m well accustomed to less than attractive lingerie options when necessary. I’m also fully apprised of the damage done to the environment by disposable sanitary products. As the Women’s Environmental Network states, women in the UK use an average of over 11,000 disposable menstrual products in their reproductive lifetime.
I’ve written before about the damage done to marine environments by tampons being flushed and there is also the horrible fact that most sanitary products are predominantly plastic, which even in landfill will not biodegrade.
Not to mention the cost and the controversial tampon tax – we’re still paying it until at least April 2018.
So I am surely a perfect candidate for trying the new generation of period pants… yep, those that you wear with nothing else, with their built in absorbency, which are then washed and re-used…. Surely I’m totally fine with that?
Yet I am also a product of my generation. A ‘grumble about PMT and wanting chocolate’ is perfectly acceptable female bonding but we rarely discuss the detail of how we deal with actual blood in varying quantities. We are used to neat and discrete. We are used to peculiar fragranced products and adverts showing blue fluid.
I was sent a prototype of WUKA wear absorbent period pants – WUKA stands for Wake up, Kick Ass, Period.
I put them on with trepidation. The underwear is no worse looking than my dreaded red period pants although in a more muted navy. They are fuller coverage than ‘normal’, ‘sexy’ knickers but are sleek and comfortable and certainly not visible under tight jeans.
In fact, based on feedback from testers, the appearance and cut has been improved since the pair I tried, and they look like nice, sporty knickers with a higher leg line.
I tried them for a day and they were fine – they were definitely not going to leak. It is a big shift in behaviour to not change them half way through the day as you would a sanitary towel. But you know what, it is ok and still feels hygienic. They are anti-bacterial so won’t smell and were certainly very absorbent.
I realise my language is slightly tepid – ‘fine’, ‘ok’ but that is the reality. This doesn’t make my period go away or suddenly become incredible, it just makes it ok, something to forget about.
Washing them too, is ‘fine’. I’m not squeamish about giving the pants a little rinse before chucking them in the machine (although this rinse isn’t required) – at 40 degrees.
Then I had a breakthrough moment.
Period arrived one evening. Plenty of tampons but no towels. I don’t like wearing tampons at night so felt a bit glum. Then I recalled the Period Pants. They were not ‘fine’ or ‘ok’ they had become the Period Pants of Wonder (P-POW). It was with genuine excitement that I pulled them on and slept comfortably, realising that I don’t have to be a consumer and that with these, I am always prepared.
So here’s my verdict:
Daytime use: fine – they absorb four tampons worth so really are safe and secure. Some people may choose to wear them as a back-up for a tampon on heavy days or when your period might start but hasn’t yet, especially while you learn to trust them and shift your perception of what you do at that TOTM.
Night-time use – Pants of Wonder, Pants of Joy. Comfortable, leak-free and always there for you.
Every woman should have a few pairs of these. They’ll save you money in the long run, protect the environment and stop you being a monthly slave to parting with money just to chuck it away. I’ll be buying more and using them in the day too now I’ve got used to the whole concept.
The project is still at the funding stage, with a Kickstarter campaign. Pledge here to support production of the undies and receive your pair of pants when they are made.
My pair of pants was sent to me to try for free by Ruby at Wuka wear in exchange for feedback that helped improve the product.